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Ministry green-lights reuse of radioactive soil for public works projects

The Ministry of the Environment formally decided on June 30 to allow limited use of radioactively contaminated soil in public works projects, but sidestepped estimates from a closed-door meeting that the soil may have to be monitored for up to 170 years.

The ministry decided that soil could be reused for embankments as long as the radioactivity of cesium it contained did not exceed 8,000 becquerels per kilogram. Under the Act on the Regulation of Nuclear Source Material, Nuclear Fuel Material and Reactors, contaminated soil can be used freely if the level of radioactivity is 100 becquerels per kilogram or less.

It earlier emerged that the ministry calculated in a closed-door meeting that some soil would have to be monitored for 170 years — well beyond the life of embankments. However, in its basic policy the ministry simply stated, “Safety and administration methods will be examined during verification processes in the future.”

It is expected that up to around 22 million cubic meters of waste contaminated with radioactive material from the Fukushima nuclear disaster will end up piled up at an interim storage facility straddling the border between the Fukushima Prefecture towns of Okuma and Futaba. The central government plans to dispose of the waste for good outside the prefecture by March 2045, but hopes to reuse as much of it as possible to reduce the amount.

Under the ministry’s basic policy, reuse of the soil will be limited to public works where the body in charge of administering it is clearly established, and the radiation dose at a distance of 1 meter is no more than 0.01 millisieverts per year. When using contaminated soil with a level of radioactivity of 8,000 becquerels per kilogram, it would be placed under at least 50 centimeters of cover soil, which would then be covered with sand and asphalt.

During the closed-door meeting, it was calculated that it would take 170 years for the radioactivity of tainted soil to naturally decrease from 5,000 to 100 becquerels per kilogram — much longer than the durability of soil mounds, at 70 years.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160701/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

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July 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

Fukushima and the oceans: What do we know, five years on?

This report raises certainly a lot of questions about today’s scientific community unbiasedness and independance from governmental and corporated powers.

A major international review of the state of the oceans 5 years after the Fukushima disaster shows that radiation levels are decreasing rapidly except in the harbour area close to the nuclear plant itself where ongoing releases remain a concern. At the same time, the review’s lead author expresses concern at the lack of ongoing support to continue the radiation assessment, which he says is vital to understand how the risks are changing.

These are the conclusions of a major 5 year review, with multi-international authors who are all working together as part of a Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research (SCOR) Working Group. The report is being presented at the Goldschmidt geochemistry conference in Japan. The review paper is also published in Annual Review of Marine Science. The main points made by the report are:

  • The accident. The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 led to the loss of power and overheating at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plants (FDNPP), causing extensive releases of radioactive gases, volatiles and liquids, in particularly to the coastal ocean. The radioactive fall-out on land is well-documented, but the distribution of radioactivity in the seas and onto the wider oceans is much more difficult to quantify, due to variability in the ocean currents and greater difficulty in sampling.
  • Initial release of radioactive material. Although the FDNPP accident was one of the largest nuclear accidents and unprecedented for the ocean, the amount of 137Cs released was around 1/50th of that released by the fall out of nuclear weapons and 1/5th that released at Chernobyl. It is similar in magnitude to the intentional discharges of 137Cs from the nuclear fuel reprocessing plant Sellafield.
  • Initial fallout. The main release of radioactive material was the initial venting to the atmosphere. Models suggest that around 80% of the fallout fell on the ocean, the majority close to the FDNPP. There was some runoff from the land, peaking around 6 April 2011. There is a range of estimates of the total amount of 137Cs release into the ocean, with estimates clustering around 15-25 PBq (PetaBecquerel, which is 1015 Becquerel. One Becquerel is one nuclear decay per second). Other radioisotopes were also released, but the focus has been on radioactive forms of Cs given their longer half-lives for radioactive decay (134Cs = 2 yrs; 137Cs = 30 yrs) and high abundance in the FDNPP source.
  • Distribution in water. Cs is very soluble, so it was rapidly dispersed in the ocean. Prevailing sea currents meant that some areas received more fall-out than others due to ocean mixing processes. At its peak in 2011, the 137Cs signal right at the FDNPP was tens of millions of times higher than prior to the accident. Over time, and with distance from Japan, levels decrease significantly. By 2014 the 137Cs signal 2000km North of Hawaii was equivalent to around six times that remaining from fallout from atmospheric nuclear tests from the 1960’s, and about 2-3 times higher than prior fallout levels along the west coast of N. America. Most of the fallout is concentrated in the top few hundred metres of the sea. It is likely that maximum will be attained off the North American coast in the 2015-16 period, before declining to 1-2 Bq per cubic metre (around the level associated with background nuclear weapon testing) by 2020. Sea-floor sediments contain less than 1% of the 137Cs released by the FDNPP, although the sea-floor contamination is still high close to the FDNPP. The redistribution of sediments by bottom-feeding organisms (more common near the coast) and storms is complex.
  • Uptake by marine life. In 2011, around half the fish samples in coastal waters off Fukushima had radiocesium levels above the Japanese 100Bq/kg limit, but by 2015 this had dropped to less than 1% above the limit. High levels are still found in fish around the FDNPP port. High levels of 131I were measured in fish in April 2011, but as this has a short radioactive half-life, it is now below detection levels. Generally, with the exception of species close to the FDNPP, there seem to be little long-term measurable effects on marine life.
  • Risk to Humans. The radiation risk to human life is comparatively modest in comparison to the 15,000 lives were lost as a result to the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami. So far, there have been no direct radiation deaths. The most exposed FDNPP evacuees received a total dose of 70 mSv, which (if they are representative of the general population) would increase their lifetime fatal cancer risk from 24% to 24.4%. However, there are still over 100,000 evacuees from the Fukushima area, and many industries such as fishing and tourism have been badly hit.
Lead author, Dr. Ken Buesseler (Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USA) said: “This report pulls together much of the academic, industry and government studies to form a more complete picture of the amount of radioactivity released, its fate and transport in the ocean, whether we should be worried or not, and what can be predicted for the future. Overall, the results show a trend of decreasing radiation risk in oceans themselves and to marine life. This is generally true, except for the harbour at Fukushima NPP. The highest remaining oceanic contamination remains in seafloor sediments off coast of Japan.

Despite this, we are still concerned that there is little support to continue assessments as time goes by, in particular from the US federal agencies which have not supported any ocean studies. This is not good, as public concern is ongoing, and we can learn a lot even when levels go down in the environment, and are no longer of immediate health concern”.

Prof. Bernd Grambow, Director of SUBATECH laboratory, Nantes, France and leader of the research group on interfacial reaction field chemistry of the ASRC/JAEA, Tokai, Japan, commented: “This report is an excellent summary of the impact and the fate of the release of radioactive substances to the ocean. While the distribution and impact of radioactive material becomes clearer with time, a lot of work still needs to be done. Discharge flux rates of Cs-137 to the ocean continue to be in the range of some TBq/yr. Forest and soil bound Cs-137 is only slowly being washed away, with waste piles accumulating in many places

The evolution of transfer mechanisms and the flux of radioactive material through soils, plants and food chain from land to ocean are still insufficiently understood and still deserve close attention of the international scientific community.”

http://phys.org/news/2016-06-fukushima-oceans-years.html#jCp

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | 1 Comment

NRA casts doubt on TEPCO ice wall project at Fukushima nuke plant

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In March this year, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) began work on a subterranean wall of frozen soil mainly on the seaward side of the disaster-stricken Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant, with most of another wall on the landward side begun in June. The purpose of the barriers is to stop the flow of groundwater into the plant buildings — a problem that has resulted in enormous volumes of contaminated water. However, three months since the freezing process began, TEPCO is ominously silent on the ice wall’s effectiveness, and the plan is quickly approaching its do-or-die moment.

The problem itself is simply put. Every day, some 850 metric tons of groundwater flows down from the mountains and under the Fukushima No. 1 plant property. Some of the water collects in the shattered reactor buildings, coming into contact with melted nuclear fuel and other radioactive substances and becoming heavily contaminated. TEPCO needs to stop the groundwater from getting into these buildings.

In September 2015, the utility started digging a chain of wells called subdrains to catch and drain the groundwater. This is just one of many countermeasures tried so far, including the ice wall. Work on the latter began in June 2014, and eventually 1,568 pipes were sunk along a 1.5-kilometer perimeter around the No. 1-4 reactors and turbine buildings. The plan calls for coolant chilled to minus 30 degrees Celsius to be pumped into the pipes, freezing the soil around them to a depth of about 30 meters and creating a solid barrier.

“Ice walls are often used in public works projects, but the one at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant is by far the largest ever tried,” says Mie University associate professor Kunio Watanabe. When building a tunnel, for example, ice walls are used to prevent groundwater from flowing into the construction area after the bedrock has been fractured. In Japan, the method has been used on some 600 such projects since 1962. The largest ice wall ever created was about 37,700 cubic meters, during construction of a subway line in Tokyo. The Fukushima plant ice wall is nearly double that, at about 70,000 cubic meters.

TEPCO tested the method in April 2015, freezing one section of the subterranean wall. To stop contaminated groundwater from flowing into the ocean, the utility started injecting coolant in the pipes on the seaward side and part of the landward wall in late March in an attempt to create about an 820-meter-long subterranean barrier — or 55 percent of the eventual total length. Saying that the temperatures were dropping according to plan, the utility started freezing operations on most of the remaining landward section at the beginning of June, and now only seven sections totaling 45 meters on the landward side are left.

TEPCO has stated that “the ice wall is going according to plan.” However, the Nuclear Regulation Authority (NRA) has pointed out that the volume of groundwater collecting in waterfront wells has not decreased, casting doubt on TEPCO’s claim.

At a meeting this month, NRA committee member Toyoshi Fuketa stated, “This is not a wall in a true sense. Perhaps it’s more akin to a bamboo screen, with groundwater trickling through the gaps.” TEPCO has responded that the quick flow of the groundwater likely makes it hard to freeze the soil in some places, and it is proceeding with work to create cement barriers to slow the water down.

There are also worries that the large volumes of highly contaminated water already collecting in the reactor and turbine buildings could leak into the environment if only the landward ice wall proves effective and the seaward wall has gaps. While TEPCO is looking to expand the ice wall, the NRA has not altered its stance that it must first confirm the effectiveness of the freezing operations already undertaken. The ice wall has already cost 34.5 billion yen in government funds.

http://mainichi.jp/english/articles/20160630/p2a/00m/0na/006000c

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

July 1 Energy News

geoharvey

Opinion:

¶ “Coal Is Literally Killing Us” • Taken together, the Clean Power Plan’s reductions in atmospheric pollutants associated with coal would reduce problems with heart disease, asthma, and other diseases enough save us of a whopping $38 billion a year in the US. [Natural Resources Defense Council]

Smoke stacks. Photo: Jon Sullivan / Flickr Smoke stacks. Photo: Jon Sullivan / Flickr

World:

¶ The North American Climate, Energy and Environment Partnership announced Wednesday in Ottawa has much to say about clean power generation, renewable energy and efficiency but barely a word about natural gas, save for methane emissions reduction goals. [Natural Gas Intelligence]

¶ The City of Sydney has a new five-year plan that targets 50% renewable electricity by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2050. Reports say the City may use a scheme under which the council, businesses and residents group together to sponsor large-scale renewable energy projects. [CleanTechnica]

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July 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

ASN: Possible Defects in Areva-Creusot Steam Generator Channel Heads; May Impact Countries in Both Hemispheres Including the USA; US NRC Snoozes

Mining Awareness +

Areva Le Creusot ASN
ASN images
steam generator  channel heads ASN

On the 28th of June, the French Nuclear Regulator, ASN, announced that some nuclear reactor steam generators made at Areva-Le Creusot Forge “could contain an anomaly similar to that affecting the Flamanville EPR vessel“. They explain that”These steam generator channel heads are hemispherical forged parts constituting the lower part of the steam generators. They contribute to containment of the primary system water. These components are essential for safety. The quality of their design, manufacture and in-service monitoring is therefore extremely important.” They also tell us that: “analyses of the other forged components making up the vessel, the pressuriser and the steam generators and liable also to be concerned by this anomaly are ongoing.” (See ASN News Release below). While the French Regulator works, the US NRC twiddles their thumbs waiting to see what the liable party, Areva, will tell them. And, instead…

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July 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why a half-degree temperature rise is a big deal #Auspol

jpratt27


The Paris Agreement, which delegates from 196 countries hammered out in December 2015, calls for holding the ongoing rise in global average temperature to “well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels,” while “pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C.” How much difference could that half-degree of wiggle room (or 0.9 degree on the Fahrenheit scale) possibly make in the real world? Quite a bit, it appears.
The European Geosciences Union published a study in April 2016 that examined the impact of a 1.5 degree Celsius vs. a 2.0 C temperature increase by the end of the century, given what we know so far about how climate works. It found that the jump from 1.5 to 2 degrees—a third more of an increase—raises the impact by about that same fraction, very roughly, on most of the phenomena the study covered. Heat waves would last around a third longer…

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July 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Ongoing Saga 72: News, Updates, Tidbits & Trivia

Mining Awareness +

Most recent updates are on top, after images-intro commentary, so that routine readers will not have to scroll-down far. Time is UTC-GMT. Updates as frequently as possible. This is a continuation of:
https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2016/06/02/the-ongoing-saga-71-news-updates-tidbits-trivia/ which ran from June 2 to June 23, 2016.
Nuclear Power Nuclear War Everyday JFK quote
There is such a thing as too late. We are standing on the threshold of too late: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/01/19/standing-at-the-threshold-70-years-of-nuclear-is-enough/ Just As Above Ground Nuclear Testing was Stopped, So Too Must Leaking of Radionuclides from the Nuclear Fuel Chain Be Stopped. Even from a statistical point of view they keep discovering that nuclear is more deadly than initially thought. Based on a recent government funded study of nuclear workers, risk is around 15 times worse than even BEIR VII thought, maybe even higher: https://miningawareness.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/another-look-at-the-recent-low-dose-radiation-exposure-study-inworks/

Clustered DNA damage, which is impossible, or almost impossible, to properly repair, is considered a signature of ionizing radiation: “clustered DNA damage…

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July 1, 2016 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Scientists Find New Kind Of Fukushima Fallout

THIS IS ABSOLUTE B.S. , THIS IS DISINFORMATION, SPREADING NONSENSE!

It completely ignores what science and multiple studies have already well established, that internal radiation is 100 times more harmful than external radiation: “He cautions that any internal radiation from particles containing cesium-137 would be much less than the doses people got from external radiation, which would come from cesium-137 and other radioactive elements in the soil or the environment around them.”

 

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A Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO) employee, wearing a protective suit and a mask, walks in front of the No. 1 reactor building at TEPCO’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

Some of the radioactive material that escaped the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor in 2011 took a form no one was looking for, scientists have discovered. Now they have to figure out what it means for Japan and for future disasters.

Radioactive cesium—specifically, cesium-137—is one of the waste products of nuclear power. It’s also one of the most dangerous substances in a nuclear disaster like Chernobyl or Fukushima.

One reason why is that the type of radiation it emits is particularly damaging to our bodies. Another is that cesium-137 dissolves in water. That means it can spread quickly through the environment and get into the plants, animal and water we consume.

Until now, scientists and disaster experts thought cesium-137 fallout from the Fukushima reactor meltdown was in this soluble form. That guided their cleanup efforts, like removing and washing topsoil, and helped them map where radiation might spread.

It turns out that wasn’t entirely true. Satoshi Utsunomiya, a geochemist at Kyushu University in Japan, announced over the weekend that he had found cesium-137 in a new form: trapped inside tiny glass particles that spewed from the damaged reactors. These particles are not water soluble, meaning we know very little about how they behave in the environment—or in our bodies. He found the particles in air filters placed around Tokyo at the time of the disaster.

According to Utsunomiya, high temperatures inside the malfunctioning reactors at the Fukushima plant melted and broke down the concrete and metal in the buildings. Silica, zinc, iron, oxygen and cesium-137 fused into millimeter-wide glass microparticles, each about the size of a pin’s head. Lifted into the atmosphere by the fires raging at the plant, they then blew about 240 kilometers southeast to Tokyo.

“As much as 89% of all of the cesium [in Tokyo] was in fact in these particles. It’s profound,” says Daniel Kaplan, a geochemist at Savannah River National Laboratory in South Carolina. He attended Utsunomiya’s lecture describing the findings at the ongoing Goldschmidt Conference in Yokohama, Japan.

Kaplan says similar particles were observed near the Chernobyl reactors after the explosion there in 1986. But they were only seen within about 30 kilometers; beyond that, cesium-137 was only observed in rain.

The discovery could change how we model fallout from nuclear disasters. Kaplan explains that it might add a new variable to the models we use to predict where radioactive particles will go and how long they’ll stay there. It might also change how we treat cesium-137 during cleanup and monitoring.

It is probably still too early to say what this means for people living in Tokyo or elsewhere in Japan. Kaplan thinks the amount of radiation they received probably hasn’t changed. Whether they got it from water-soluble cesium-137 or from these particles, the radiation dose was the same—and for Tokyo residents, that number was within the margin of safe exposure.

The bad thing about water-soluble cesium-137 is that it can easily get into our bodies from soil by way of plants and animals. This new discovery alleviates that concern. But it opens up a new possibility we know little about.

“If the particles are in the air—because that’s how they get to Tokyo—then when you are aspirating this air you should find them in some ways on your lungs,” says Bernd Grambow, who studies nuclear waste chemistry as head of the SUBATECH laboratory in France.

Water-soluble cesium-137 that makes it into our lungs passes into the bloodstream and is peed out within a few weeks. But Grambow says we really don’t know what happens to insoluble cesium-137-containing particles if they get in our lungs. Some of them are likely coughed out or removed by our lungs’ other normal processes. As for the rest, Grambow says we don’t know how long they might remain.

He cautions that any internal radiation from particles containing cesium-137 would be much less than the doses people got from external radiation, which would come from cesium-137 and other radioactive elements in the soil or the environment around them. “We don’t know very much, and my point is only that they should be studied,” Grambow says.

Utsunomiya’s next step is finding out how much of the cesium-137 that ended up in soils in Tokyo and elsewhere was in these glass particles. That way, researchers will be able to better understand how cesium made its way out of the reactor and into the environment.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/samlemonick/2016/06/30/scientists-find-new-kind-of-fukushima-fallout/#127bfe641263

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Fukushima 2016 | , , , | Leave a comment

to 1 July – the week in nuclear news

a-cat-CANWorld action effective against damage to ozone layer: our choices can help.

French Polynesia at UN presses case for compensation for nuclear tests.

Island states most at risk of global warming impact – Maldives want action.

UK. Brexit – the ‘coup de grace’ for Britain’s new nuclear? Brexit could result in Britain’s unilateral nuclear disarmament.  Hinkley nuclear power plan, and the costs of its radioactive wastes. Senior EDF managers want Hinkley nuclear project to be postponed.

USA.  

JAPAN.   Nuclear watchdog finds 3 nuclear plants guilty of ‘malicious’ safety violations.  Monju nuclear reprocessing fiasco  Reuse of radioactive soil approved despite 170-year safety criteria estimate   Melted fuel may be at the bottom of Fukushima No.2 reactor. Prefecture’s subsidies for residents near Fukushima No. 1 plant to run out next year. Japan’s anti-democratic secrecy law means no accountability in the nuclear industry. Business analysts do not share the optimism of Toshiba’s new CEO, on nuclear power.  Fukushima plans point to a better energy source. Four new solar power plants in Fukushima.

RUSSIA Russia’s nuclear marketing: the ambitions and the reality. Draconian Russian Law Curbs Free Speech, Privacy, Freedom of Religion.

INDIA. India stopped by China, from joining Nuclear Suppliers Group.

RENEWABLE ENERGY. International Energy Agency favours clean energy to cut air-pollution mortality. America’s future in renewables: nuclear can’t compete on costs nor on safety. Solar powered spacecraft to arrive on Jupiter on July 4. Route 66 – America’s first public solar road. Nestle’s new deal for powering its UK and Ireland operations with wind energy

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Christina's notes | Leave a comment

Brexit – the ‘coup de grace’ for Britain’s new nuclear?

text Hinkley cancelledBrexit curse hits nuclear power, new London runway,  Ecologist, Paul Brown 29th June 2016 Following the vote to leave the EU, the UK’s energy and climate change policy faces major challenges, writes Paul Brown, with new nuclear power and a third London runway at Heathrow runway looking like the first casualties. …..Plans for four giant nuclear reactors to be built in Englandby the French are almost certain to be scrapped because opposition among trade unions in France has hardened since last week’s vote…….  time is rolling by and Électricité de France (EDF) is due to make a ‘final investment decision’ in September to build two 1,650 MW nuclear reactors at Hinkley Point in southwest England. They were expected to be followed by two more to the east of London.

Time for the ‘coup de grace’

The Hinkley decision, already postponed repeatedly, has been in doubt for months because of the parlous financial state of EDF and the increasing opposition of a group of French trade unions, whose members fear that the building of nuclear power stations in the UK would divert much-needed investment away from home.

There are also question marks about whether the nuclear design is viable at all, since construction delays and cost over-runs have dogged the prototypes, and none is yet producing electricity.

The backlash against the British decision to leave the EU will not affect the decision, according to the immediate reaction from EDF and the French government, but the chances of the scheme being given the go-ahead in September now seem remote.

Mycle Schneider, an independent nuclear and energy industry analyst based in Paris, says that the Brexit vote would hand EDF “the perfect occasion to pull the plug on Hinkley Point without losing face”. He believes that the Brexit vote represents a “disaster” for EDF’s plan, and that a decision to press ahead with Hinkley Point is unimaginable at the moment……

Can’t pay, won’t pay?

Until the Brexit vote, the UK government was committed to building 10 new nuclear power stations as part of its ‘low carbon’ plan for the energy sector. The programme always seemed improbable, given the state of the nuclear industry worldwide, but getting private investors to support such a policy now seems even less likely.

One of the unlooked-for side-effects of the decision is to take the UK outside theEuratom Treaty that safeguards nuclear materials from misuse. Since the UK has the largest stock of plutonium in the world, and a large trade in nuclear materials with Europe, the US and Japan, this creates serious problems over who now regulates the industry. http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/2987861/brexit_curse_hits_nuclear_power_new_london_runway.htm

July 1, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK | Leave a comment

Nuclear power generation no longer makes sense: renewables set to boom in California

poster renewables not nuclearAs Nuclear Plants Shut Down, Renewable Energy Could Boom A California utility wants to close the state’s last nuclear power plant and replace it with solar and wind farms. Take Part  JUN 29, 2016 Taylor Hill is an associate editor at TakePart covering environment and wildlife. “…….The shutdown has implications nationwide, as it shows how dozens of other aging nuclear plants could also be closed in favor of cheap natural gas or renewable energy…….

Solar and wind farms supply 11 percent of California’s electricity demand. The state would have to nearly double renewable energy production by 2025 to make up for the loss of Diablo Canyon.
That’s entirely feasible, said Michael Dorsey, a former member of the Sierra Club’s board of directors. In just three years, solar energy jumped from under 1 percent of statewide electricity production to 6.7 percent in 2015, according to California’s power grid operator…
….the prices are now there, they are competitive, and it makes economic sense to bring photovoltaics and wind here now.”
PG&E’s plan is notably light on specifying what types of renewables will replace Diablo Canyon, but the closure plan identifies three strategies. The first step is to reduce electricity demand by 225 megawatts by expanding the use of energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and other equipment. The utility will also add 225 megawatts of renewable energy from solar and wind farms by 2030. Last, the company will exceed state-mandated targets for renewable energy production.
Not all the power generated by Diablo Canyon needs to be replaced, according to PG&E, given energy-efficiency advances and technological changes in the way the power grid operates.

“Given these and other uncertainties, the parties cannot, and it would be a mistake to try to, specify all the necessary replacement procurement now,” PG&E stated in the proposal to shutter Diablo Canyon.

The boom in rooftop solar systems will also help meet electricity demand, said Geisha Williams, president of PG&E. Photovoltaic panels installed on the roofs of homes and businesses account for an estimated 5 percent of California’s electricity generation.

“You don’t need [Diablo Canyon],” Williams told KQED. “There’s been so much energy efficiency. There’s been so much power that’s been generated by customers on their own private solar rooftop.”

The nuclear power decline could be a turning point for solar.

“To the extent that any capacity is retired—nuclear or otherwise—it’s an opportunity for new solar development,” said Shayle Kann, senior vice president of research for Greentech Media.

Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, is calling for solar capacity to grow from 26 gigawatts to 140 gigawatts by the end of 2020 and for half a billion solar panels to be installed by the end of her first term if she is elected…….

The cost of producing electricity from photovoltaic panels is expected to drop by 59 percent worldwide by 2025, according to a new report from the International Renewable Energy Agency, making solar cheaper than fossil fuels.

“The fact is that we live in a world where technologically, financially, environmentally, and ethically, nuclear power generation no longer makes sense,” Dorsey said……http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/06/29/solar-nuclear-california-future

July 1, 2016 Posted by | renewable, USA | Leave a comment

South Carolina versus US Dept of Energy in court about mixed oxide fuel project

justiceSC, Dept. of Energy in court about nuclear fuel lawsuit  http://abcnews4.com/news/local/sc-dept-of-energy-in-court-about-nuclear-fuel-lawsuit MOX BY MEG KINNARD, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS , JUNE 30TH 2016 COLUMBIA, S.C.  — Attorneys for the federal government and the state of South Carolina are in court arguing about a lawsuit concerning an unfinished plant to turn old plutonium into commercial nuclear reactor fuel.

A federal judge in Columbia is hearing arguments Thursday in South Carolina’s lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Energy over the mixed oxide fuel project at the Savannah River Site near Aiken.

South Carolina is suing the federal government because the project is well past its start date. The state is seeking daily fines of up to $1 million, as well as the removal of plutonium from the state.

The federal government is asking that the lawsuit be dismissed, saying that such issues are best handled in a different type of court.

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Legal, USA | Leave a comment

Brexit could result in Britain’s unilateral nuclear disarmament.

flag-UKNuclear Brexit  Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists , 30 June 16, HUGH GUSTERSON Hugh Gusterson is a professor of anthropology and international affairs at George Washington University. His expertise is in nuclear culture, international security, and more

 Those who voted for a “Brexit,” with the avowed goal of “making Britain great again,” may have set in motion a course of events that will result in Britain’s unilateral nuclear disarmament.

For those who favor disarmament, this would be good. For those who hoped Britain’s departure from the European Union would restore its glory on the world stage, it presumably would not…..

Insofar as pundits have speculated about the international security implications of Brexit, they have pointed out that British diplomats will be so focused on renegotiating trade agreements with the rest of the world that they will devote fewer resources to the turmoil in the Middle East and simmering tension with Russia, and that Britain will therefore be a less reliable ally for the United States. (This partly explains why Russian President Vladimir Putin greeted Brexit with a grin.) They assume, though, that Britain will remain strongly committed to NATO.

One problem with this assumption is that the UK may no longer exist as a country within a few years. It looks likely that, if Brexit proceeds, Scotland will withdraw from the United Kingdom, and there is a possibility that Northern Ireland will follow suit……

In the Brexit referendum, every single district in Scotland voted to remain in the EU, and a decisive majority of Scots—62 percent—voted to stay. It now looks as if the only way they can remain in the EU is to secede from the United Kingdom and apply for EU membership as a separate nation. A poll taken after the Brexit vote found that 59 percent of Scots say they would now vote for independence from Great Britain. Nicola Sturgeon, the shrewd and charismatic leader of the Scottish National Party, has stated her interest in moving toward a second referendum on Scottish independence.

For 30 years, the Scottish National Party said that an independent Scotland would stay out of NATO. It narrowly reversed that position in 2012, but it remains adamantly opposed to the stationing of any nuclear weapons in Scotland. That could be a problem since all of Britain’s nuclear weapons are stationed in Scotland. …..

A British parliamentary report in 2012, written in response to increasing concerns that Scotland might secede from the United Kingdom, concluded that finding a suitable base to replace Faslane and Coulport would be “highly problematic, very expensive, and fraught with political difficulties.” For one thing, it would take 10 to 20 years to construct a new base. And according to a 2014 study, doing so would cost English taxpayers about £3 billion (or some $4 billion at today’s exchange rate, almost certainly an underestimate)—on top of the £20 billion it will already cost to replace the four decaying nuclear submarines. This money will be particularly hard to find if British GDP declines sharply, as predicted, following disengagement from the European single market.

That is assuming a suitable new site could even be found, but the three sites that have been discussed in the media all have significant problems……..

It is becoming evident that, in addition to all the negative consequences of Brexit opponents warned about, there will be additional unforeseen and unintended consequences that will only become clear over time. In a supreme irony, one of those consequences may be that the English nationalist vote strips Britain of its status as a nuclear power. http://thebulletin.org/nuclear-brexit9620

July 1, 2016 Posted by | politics, UK, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Four new solar power plants in Fukushima

Mitsubishi Materials builds solar plants in Fukushima, Japan Today , By Shinichi Kato, Nikkei BP CleanTech Institute, 29 June 16, TOKYO —Mitsubishi Materials Corp has started operation of solar power plants with a total output of about 8.3MW in Fukushima Prefecture.

solar plants Fukushima

The power producer for the mega (large-scale) solar power plants, Yabuki Solar Power Plant, is MM Sun Power, a 50-50 joint venture between Mitsubishi Materials and Mitsubishi UFJ Lease & Finance Co Ltd.

The plants were built by using four unoccupied areas of Yabuki Techno Park, which Mitsubishi Materials Real Estate Corp, a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Materials, runs in Yabuki-machi, Nishishirakawa-gun, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan.

The Yabuki Solar Power Plant consists of four solar power plants built on the four areas. The total site area is 103,624m2, and the total output of solar panels installed at the plants is 8.284MW. The plants transmit a total of 6.544MW of electricity to the power grid…….http://www.japantoday.com/category/business/view/mitsubishi-materials-builds-solar-plants-in-fukushima

 

July 1, 2016 Posted by | Japan, renewable | Leave a comment

Nuclear Information and Resource Service: marching for clean energy, remembering Michael Mariotte

logo NIRSWe invite you to join us for the next historic safe energy mobilization–the March for a Clean Energy Revolution, July 24 in Philadelphia. You can find more details on the march below.

We have good news and sad news to report today. On at least this occasion, it’s appropriate that they go together. Many of you know that Michael Mariotte, NIRS’s President and long-time Executive Director–and primary sender of these emails–had been struggling with cancer for some time.

Recently, that struggle came to an end. Michael passed away a few weeks ago. He has left us all with a legacy of his achievements from which the movement for a nuclear-free world will benefit for many years. We encourage you to visit our memorial webpage to find out more about Michael’s enormous contributions and his unique life, which have been comemorated in some of the U.S.’s most prominent news outlets, as well as in the humble pages of our own Nuclear Monitor and the GreenWorld blog that Michael founded and edited.

Michael’s death is a major loss for NIRS and the anti-nuclear movement. His brilliance and hisvoice will never be replaced, so you will notice some changes in the coming months. For instance, emails like this addressed from other NIRS staffers, and soon we will be rolling out one of the last projects Michael was working on: a new and revitalized website and a new image for NIRS, that connects our movements roots to our ongoing work.

As Michael would have it, we are continuing the fight–and our work for a nuclear-free, carbon-free world is only expanding.

Which brings us to the good news. This summer, we are marching for the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free world!

Two years ago, 400,000 people joined the historic People’s Climate March in New York City — including thousands who marched with NIRS and the Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent. Michael Mariotte was the architect and chief organizer of that enormous, vibrant, and visionary contingent, and our mobilization was one of the moments of which he was proudest.

Collectively, we sent an incredibly powerful message that day, which not only led to the first-ever truly global climate action agreement. The visionary statement made by those marching for a nuclear-free, carbon-free world both helped keep nuclear power out of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and, ultimately, prevented the international climate agreement from endorsing it, as well.

Join us on July 24 as we March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia.

The Democratic National Convention will be meeting there starting the next day. The Nuclear-Free, Carbon-Free Contingent will be marching with thousands of anti-fracking, climate justice, First Nations, fair trade, unions, and clean energy activists, demanding an end to dirty energy and a total commitment and a just transition to clean, sustainable, renewable energy. And we need you to join us!

Our victories since the People’s Climate March have led to more and more reactor shutdowns, but the nuclear industry hasn’t given up–and their attacks on our clean energy future are getting more severe this year. Dirty energy corporations see the 2016 elections as their opportunity to block renewable energy, no matter who wins the elections.

And the nuclear industry is no exception. In fact, there is a nuclear lobbyist and spokesperson on the Democratic Party Platform Committee: Nuclear Matters’ Carol Browner. We need as many No Nukes and safe energy activists as possible to join us in the streets of Philadelphia.

Stay Informed:

NIRS on the web: http://www.nirs.org

GreenWorld: (NIRS’ blog chronicling nuclear issues and the transition to a nuclear-free, carbon-free energy system) http://www.safeenergy.org

NIRS on Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nuclear-Information-and-Resource-Service/26490791479?sk=wall&filter=12

NIRS on Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/nirsnet  NIRS on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/user/nirsnet

July 1, 2016 Posted by | ACTION | Leave a comment